The eighth consecutive, ninth overall trip to the NCAA Tournament for the University of Indianapolis volleyball team ended this past Thursday, Nov. 22, when the Greyhounds fell to the Rockhurst University Hawks in a compelling five-set match, 3-2.
The loss to the Hawks ended the Greyhounds’ season at an overall record of 19-11, 15-3 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
After trailing two sets to none in the match, the Greyhounds rallied to claim two-straight sets of their own, which forced the fifth set of play. Despite its comeback, however, UIndy was edged out by the Hawks in the fifth by a final score of 15-12.
The entire match between the Greyhounds and Hawks was a back-and-forth battle for supremacy, as it involved 35 ties and 12 lead changes.
Although the Greyhounds’ efforts still resulted in a loss, UIndy had a statistically impressive match in several categories. Senior defensive specialist Kimberly Trojan led UIndy on defense for the final time, posting a career-high 34 digs for the Greyhounds, while the team as a whole had a season-high 112 digs. On offense, the Greyhounds had 64 kills, 62 assists, which also proved to be another set of season-highs for the team.
Heading into the match against the Hawks, Head Volleyball Coach Jason Reed said that if the Greyhounds were going to find success in the match, they needed to positively execute a few parts of their game.
“We need to play our volleyball, our style,” he said. “We need to be passing well and serving tough in order for us to be in the system. We’ve shown, with some big wins this year against some of the best teams in our region, that when we’re doing those things, we’re very good.”
Reed said the team also went into the match feeling confident about its chances of winning.
“We saw them [Rockhurst] earlier in the year. So we know what they like to do, and they know what we like to do,” Reed said. “It [how each team likes to play] is no real big secret at this point. [Before the match], we’ll go over some of the things that we’re going to see against them.”
During the week before, the Greyhounds fell in the second round of the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament against the McKendree University Bearcats.
At the start of the match against the Bearcats, UIndy was edged out by a set score of 21-25. In the second set, McKendree kept the Greyhounds from tying the match by edging out UIndy 15-25. The Bearcats continued their statistical dominance over the Greyhounds in the next set, despite the Greyhounds’ early lead of 14-10 at the start. The Bearcats responded with an 8-1 run, which put McKendree back in control.
The loss to McKendree was UIndy’s second of the season, after the Bearcats triumphed over the Greyhounds on Oct. 3, 3-2, in the Ruth Lilly Fitness Center.
Senior setter Meghan Binkerd said that the Greyhounds’ loss to McKendree was not the result the team had hoped for going into the match.
“I think we had a mindset that we wanted to win this past weekend,” she said.
Reed said that although the Greyhounds did not claim the GLVC tournament title, he thought they showed competitiveness.
“I thought we fought real hard,” he said. “We didn’t execute as well as we would have liked to in that second round match against McKendree, but our hats are off to them, because they played very, very well.”
With the Greyhounds season over, UIndy will lose four seniors to graduation, including Trojan, Binkerd, outside hitter Arielle Knafel and middle blocker Julia Watkins.